Movies About Survival

Updated
Movies About Survival

Multiple directors have explored Movies About Survival. We found 25 of the top ones.

The Pianist (2002)

The Pianist
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From Roman Polanski, starring Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Frank Finlay, Emilia Fox
Rated R

The Pianist is a 2002 biographical drama film directed by Roman Polanski and starring Adrien Brody. The film is an adaptation of the autobiography of the same name by Jewish-Polish pianist and composer Władysław Szpilman. It is set in Poland in 1939 during the Nazi invasion and follows Szpilman's struggle to survive the Holocaust. Throughout the film, Szpilman survives with the help of a German officer. The film was a critical and commercial success, winning three Academy Awards including Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actor for Brody's performance. It also received numerous other awards and nominations, including seven BAFTA Awards, five Golden Globe nominations and a Cannes Film Festival award for best direction. The Pianist is considered one of the finest Holocaust films ever made and is widely regarded as one of the greatest films of the 21st century.

12 Years a Slave (2013)

12 Years a Slave
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Steve McQueen, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Kenneth Williams, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt
Rated R

12 Years a Slave is a 2013 biographical film directed by Steve McQueen and based on the 1853 autobiographical novel of the same name by Solomon Northup. It tells the story of Solomon Northup, a free African-American man who is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the pre-Civil War United States. After being held for 12 years in various slave plantations, he was eventually able to secure his freedom and return to his family. The film stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup, with supporting performances from Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sarah Paulson, and Paul Giamatti. The film explores the brutalities and hardships of slavery, as well as the strength of family and friendship in the face of adversity. It received widespread critical acclaim, with Ejiofor’s performance receiving multiple award nominations. It won three Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and was nominated for four more.

Into the Wild (2007)

Into the Wild
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Sean Penn, starring Emile Hirsch, Vince Vaughn, Catherine Keener, Marcia Gay Harden
Rated R

Into the Wild is a 2007 biographical adventure drama film written, co-produced, and directed by Sean Penn. It is an adaptation of the 1996 non-fiction book of the same name by Jon Krakauer, which is an expansion of a 9,000-word article by Krakauer on Christopher McCandless titled "Death of an Innocent" which appeared in the January 1993 issue of Outside magazine. The film stars Emile Hirsch as McCandless, and features Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, Jena Malone, Catherine Keener, Brian Dierker, Vince Vaughn, Kristen Stewart, and Hal Holbrook. The film chronicles the travels of Christopher McCandless, a college graduate from a wealthy family, who sets out on a two-year journey across America. McCandless chooses to leave his conventional life behind, donating his savings to charity, destroying all his credit cards and identification documents, and sets out on a cross-country odyssey to experience life in the wilderness. In his travels, McCandless forms relationships with a series of people he meets along the way, including a homeless couple in South Dakota, and a retired farmer in northern California. The film follows McCandless's experiences as he faces

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Mad Max: Fury Road
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From George Miller, starring Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Zoë Kravitz
Rated R

Mad Max: Fury Road is an action-packed adventure set in post-apocalyptic Australia, directed by George Miller. In the desolate wasteland, Max (Tom Hardy) is captured by a warlord named Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), who holds him captive in order to use his blood for transfusions. Unwilling to be a slave, Max joins forces with Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), an elite warrior seeking to free a group of sex slaves from Immortan Joe's grasp. Together, Max and Furiosa fight their way through a relentless battle of car chases, explosions, and hand-to-hand combat in order to bring freedom to the enslaved. In the end, Max and Furiosa succeed in their mission, but not without paying a heavy price for their freedom.

Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

Hacksaw Ridge
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Mel Gibson, starring Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, Teresa Palmer
Rated R

Hacksaw Ridge is a 2016 American war film directed by Mel Gibson, starring Andrew Garfield as the main character, Desmond Doss. The film follows the incredible true story of Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector who, in Okinawa during the bloodiest battle of WWII, saved 75 men without firing or carrying a gun. Despite his friends and family's resistance, Doss became the first conscientious objector to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. The film is a powerful and deeply moving story of faith, courage, and sacrifice, depicting Doss' battle to protect his convictions even in the face of ridicule and extreme opposition.

Room (2015)

Room
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Lenny Abrahamson, starring Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Sean Bridgers, Wendy Crewson
Rated R

Room is a 2015 drama film directed by Lenny Abrahamson, based on the novel of the same name by Emma Donoghue. The film stars Brie Larson as Ma, a young woman who has been held captive with her five-year-old son Jack in a tiny garden shed for years. Ma struggles to protect Jack from the horrors of their situation, while at the same time doing her best to provide a safe and loving environment for him. After a daring escape, the two must adjust to the strange and sometimes hostile outside world, while Ma must confront her past and learn to trust again. Room is an emotional and thought-provoking exploration of the bonds of love and the power of resilience in the face of unthinkable adversity.

The Martian (2015)

The Martian
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Ridley Scott, starring Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara
Rated PG-13

The Martian is a 2015 science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon. It tells the story of astronaut Mark Watney, who is stranded on Mars after a mission gone wrong. With his crew believing him dead, Watney must find a way to survive in the hostile environment of Mars, with limited resources and time running out. Using his ingenuity and ingenuity, Watney embarks on a thrilling journey of survival and exploration in an attempt to make it back to Earth alive. With the help of a dedicated team of scientists on Earth, Watney must find creative ways to survive the extreme environment of Mars and ultimately make it back to his home planet.

The Revenant (2015)

The Revenant
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Alejandro G. Iñárritu, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter, Domhnall Gleeson
Rated R

The Revenant is a 2015 American semi-biographical survival drama film directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a fur trapper who is mauled by a bear and left for dead. He is betrayed by his companion, and must struggle to survive, enduring unimaginable hardships and ultimately seeking revenge on his attacker. In the wilderness he encounters native American tribes, and has to battle the elements, as well as his own mental and physical fortitude to make his way back to civilization. The film is set in the 19th century, and is loosely based on the true story of Hugh Glass, an explorer and frontiersman in the American West.

Lion (2016)

Lion
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Garth Davis, starring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara, Sunny Pawar
Rated PG-13

Lion is a 2016 biographical drama film directed by Garth Davis and based on the memoir A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierly. The film stars Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, David Wenham, Nicole Kidman, and Sunny Pawar. The story follows the journey of a five-year-old Indian boy, Saroo, who mistakenly boards a train and is separated from his family, eventually ending up in Calcutta. Lost and alone, he is adopted by an Australian couple, and twenty-five years later, he sets out to find his lost family. The film has been met with widespread critical acclaim and was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress for Kidman. It won the BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and received many other accolades.

Touching the Void (2003)

Touching the Void
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Kevin Macdonald, starring Simon Yates, Joe Simpson, Brendan Mackey, Nicholas Aaron
Rated R

Touching the Void is a 2003 British documentary film based on the 1988 book of the same name by Joe Simpson. Directed by Kevin Macdonald, the film is a dramatized recreation of Simpson's and Simon Yates' successful but disastrous and nearly fatal climb of the Siula Grande in the Cordillera Huayhuash mountain range of the Peruvian Andes in 1985. The film follows the two climbers as they endure several days of escalating adversity, including a fall, an avalanche, and a near-fatal bivouac. Despite the unlikely odds against them, they eventually make their way back down the mountain, with Yates performing an heroic self-rescue of Simpson who had broken his leg during the descent. The film is an exploration of the physical and psychological challenges of extreme adventure and the limits of human endurance in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

Life of Pi (2012)

Life of Pi
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Ang Lee, starring Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Adil Hussain, Tabu
Rated PG

Life of Pi is a 2012 adventure drama film directed by Ang Lee and based on the 2001 novel of the same name by Yann Martel. The film tells the story of Piscine Molitor "Pi" Patel, a young man who survives a shipwreck and is stranded on a lifeboat for 227 days with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. The film follows Pi's incredible journey of self-discovery and spiritual awakening as he struggles to survive against all odds. Along the way, he forms an unexpected and unbreakable bond with the fearsome predator. In the end, Pi is forced to choose between the reality of his physical circumstances and the power of his imagination. Life of Pi is a visually stunning work of art that captures the beauty, wonder, and resilience of the human spirit.

Children of Men (2006)

Children of Men
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Alfonso Cuarón, starring Julianne Moore, Clive Owen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Caine
Rated R

Children of Men is a 2006 dystopian drama directed by Alfonso Cuarón. Set in 2027, the world has been thrown into chaos due to the sudden inability of all humans to reproduce. Facing a future of extinction, a disillusioned former activist named Theo Faron (Clive Owen) is recruited by a revolutionary group to help protect a pregnant woman, Kee (Clare-Hope Ashitey), who may be the key to humanity’s survival. Theo's journey to protect Kee and her unborn child is filled with danger, hope and despair. Along the way, he is forced to confront difficult choices and his own morality. In the end, Theo discovers the power of hope, love and courage in the face of a seemingly insurmountable future.

Cast Away (2000)

Cast Away
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Robert Zemeckis, starring Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt, Paul Sanchez, Lari White
Rated PG-13

Cast Away is a 2000 American survival drama film directed by Robert Zemeckis. The film stars Tom Hanks as Chuck Noland, a FedEx employee stranded on an uninhabited island after his plane crashes in the South Pacific. While struggling to survive, Chuck undergoes an emotional journey of self-discovery and growth. Along the way, Chuck forms an unlikely friendship with a volleyball he names Wilson. With Wilson as his only companion, Chuck must find a way to survive the elements and return to civilization.

Apocalypto (2006)

Apocalypto
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Mel Gibson, starring Gerardo Taracena, Raoul Max Trujillo, Dalia Hernández, Rudy Youngblood
Rated R

Apocalypto is an epic adventure set in 16th century Mesoamerica during the decline of the once great Mayan civilization. The story follows a young man named Jaguar Paw as he is forced to flee his village and take on a dangerous journey to save his family from the violent warriors who are hunting them. Along the way, he encounters a series of challenges and dangers that test his courage and determination, including a fierce battle with a rival tribe and his capture by the ruling Mayan elite. As Jaguar Paw fights to survive and reunite with his loved ones, his people’s ancient way of life hangs in the balance, threatened by the merciless forces of a corrupt empire.

Dunkirk (2017)

Dunkirk
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Christopher Nolan, starring Fionn Whitehead, Barry Keoghan, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy
Rated PG-13

Dunkirk tells the story of the evacuation of Allied forces from the beaches of northern France during the early days of World War II. After a devastating battle against German forces, the British army, along with French and Belgian allies, are surrounded by the enemy on the beach of Dunkirk. With their backs to the sea, the Allies must find a way to evacuate the hundreds of thousands of soldiers trapped on the beach before they are wiped out by the enemy. While the British Admiralty races to organize a rescue operation, civilian ships, boats, and small vessels answer the call to help evacuate the stranded soldiers. With time running out, all of these forces must work together to ensure that the evacuation is a success and that the Allied forces can survive and fight another day.

Captain Phillips (2013)

Captain Phillips
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Paul Greengrass, starring Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Catherine Keener
Rated PG-13

Captain Phillips is a thrilling drama based on the true story of Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) and the 2009 hijacking of the US container ship Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates. After the pirates successfully board the ship, Captain Phillips attempts to protect both his crew and the cargo, engaging in a dramatic standoff that leads to a harrowing rescue mission. With the help of the US Navy, the pirates are eventually captured, but not without a dramatic high-stakes chase across the Indian Ocean. Through it all, Captain Phillips maintains his courage and resourcefulness, proving himself a true hero.

The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)

The Motorcycle Diaries
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Walter Salles, starring Gael García Bernal, Rodrigo de la Serna, Mía Maestro, Mercedes Morán
Rated R

The Motorcycle Diaries is a 2004 biopic about the journey of Ernesto “Che” Guevara, a 23-year-old medical student from Argentina, and his friend Alberto Granado, a 29-year-old biochemist. The two set off on a nine-month long journey throughout South America on a 1939 Norton 500 motorcycle. Along the way, they experience a range of adventures, embracing an increasingly diverse array of people, places, and cultures. As they journey through the continent, their perspectives change and evolve, leading to a newfound appreciation for the beauty and suffering of the people they encounter. By the time they reach their final destination, they have both been transformed into the icons of social justice and revolution they would eventually become.

Grizzly Man (2005)

Grizzly Man
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Werner Herzog, starring Timothy Treadwell, Amie Huguenard, Werner Herzog, Carol Dexter
Rated R

Grizzly Man is a documentary film directed by Werner Herzog which tells the story of Timothy Treadwell and his thirteen summers spent living with wild grizzly bears in Alaska. It follows Treadwell's journey from an alcoholic and suicidal young man to a passionate environmentalist and conservationist, and then, finally, to his tragic death in October 2003, when he and his girlfriend Amie Huguenard were killed and partially eaten by a grizzly bear. The film combines archival footage of Treadwell's expeditions with interviews from those closest to him, including his family, friends and colleagues, to create an intimate portrait of a complex and controversial figure whose devotion to the bears was ultimately his undoing.

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (2011)

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Nuri Bilge Ceylan, starring Muhammet Uzuner, Yilmaz Erdogan, Taner Birsel, Ahmet Mümtaz Taylan
Rated Not Rated

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia is a 2011 Turkish drama film directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan. The story follows a group of men, including a police commissioner, a prosecutor, a doctor, and several police officers, as they search for a corpse in the Anatolian steppes. As the men search for the body, they reflect on their own lives, relationships, and their own struggles with morality, death, and justice. As the night drags on, they slowly unravel the truth and come to terms with their own mortality. Along the way, they come across small glimpses of hope, beauty, and faith. At its core, this is a story about the human condition and our search for meaning in a chaotic world.

Gravity (2013)

Gravity
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Alfonso Cuarón, starring Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Ed Harris, Orto Ignatiussen
Rated PG-13

Gravity is a 2013 science-fiction film directed by Alfonso Cuarón and starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. The story follows Dr. Ryan Stone (Bullock), an engineer on her first shuttle mission, and Matt Kowalski (Clooney), a veteran astronaut. After their space shuttle is destroyed, the two must work together to survive in the vast emptiness of space. Along their journey, they must face incredible obstacles in the form of debris fields and a lack of oxygen, while they struggle to stay alive and eventually make it back to Earth.

Get Out (2017)

Get Out
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Jordan Peele, starring Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener
Rated R

Get Out is a 2017 American horror-thriller film written and directed by Jordan Peele. It follows a young African American man named Chris, who visits the estate of his white girlfriend's parents for the weekend and gradually discovers a sinister secret behind their seemingly friendly behavior. As Chris struggles to survive and escape the increasingly dangerous situation, he confronts a series of disturbing and horrific discoveries about modern-day racism. The film stars Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, and Bradley Whitford, and has earned critical acclaim, including an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga (2010)

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Directors: Werner Herzog, Dmitry Vasyukov, starring Werner Herzog, Gennady Soloviev, Anatoly Blumei, Gennady Tiganov
Rated Not Rated

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga is a 2010 documentary film directed by Werner Herzog and Dmitry Vasyukov. The film follows the lives of a small community of trappers, who live in the remote Siberian Taiga, as they go about their lives in the harsh and isolated environment. Throughout the course of the year, the film showcases their customs, traditions, and daily routines, as they hunt and fish for a living, build and maintain their homes, and survive in the challenging climate. The film also provides an intimate look at the community's culture, with commentary from the locals about the spiritual importance of their lifestyle, the importance of respect for nature, and the difficulties of living in such a remote location. The film provides an inspiring look at a way of life that has gone unchanged for generations.

127 Hours (2010)

127 Hours
★★★★
★★★★
3 out of 4 stars

From Danny Boyle, starring James Franco, Amber Tamblyn, Kate Mara, Sean Bott
Rated R

127 Hours is a 2010 biographical drama film directed by Danny Boyle and written by Simon Beaufoy and based on the autobiography of Aron Ralston, Between a Rock and a Hard Place. The film follows Aron Ralston (James Franco), a mountaineer who becomes trapped by a boulder in a remote canyon in Utah while canyoneering alone. Over the next five days, Ralston examines his life and finds the courage to extricate himself by any means necessary. The film is an intense and often grueling look at Ralston's battle for survival, as he faces physical and psychological challenges that all test his strength and determination. With an impressive soundtrack and stunning cinematography, Boyle captures the vastness and beauty of the Utah landscape while keeping the focus on Aron and his struggle. The film was a huge success, garnering critical acclaim and multiple award nominations, including a Best Actor nomination for James Franco.

Only the Brave (2017)

Only the Brave
★★★★
★★★★
3 out of 4 stars

From Joseph Kosinski, starring Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges, Jennifer Connelly
Rated PG-13

Only the Brave is a 2017 American biographical drama directed by Joseph Kosinski. Based on the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a team of 19 firefighters from Prescott, Arizona, the film follows their journey of becoming the first municipal fire department to receive the highest level of wildfire certification. The story follows the group's leader Eric Marsh (Josh Brolin) as he struggles to gain the respect of the local community and to build the team into an elite force with the help of his wife Amanda (Jennifer Connelly), and a new recruit, Brendan McDonough (Miles Teller). Through a series of dangerous firefighting missions, the team begins to bond and push each other to succeed, ultimately leading to the tragic 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire. The film pays tribute to the ultimate sacrifice made by the Granite Mountain Hotshots and emphasizes the courage, bravery and loyalty that comes with being a firefighter.

The Cave of the Yellow Dog (2005)

The Cave of the Yellow Dog
★★★★
★★★★
3 out of 4 stars

From Byambasuren Davaa, starring Batchuluun Urjindorj, Buyandulam Daramdadi, Nansal Batchuluun, Nansalmaa Batchuluun
Rated G

The Cave of the Yellow Dog is a 2005 Mongolian drama directed by Byambasuren Davaa. It tells the story of Nansal, a young Mongolian girl living in a remote nomadic family. After finding a small dog while out in the grasslands, she is determined to keep it despite her father’s protestations. The story follows Nansal as she discovers the importance of family, nature, and loyalty throughout her journey. This film is a charming and heartwarming story about a young girl’s love for her canine companion, and her journey of discovery.

 



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